Filling You In About Replacement Fillings
You probably remember that cavity you got five or 10 years ago.
It was a little embarrassing, and it gave your mother the kind of “I told you so” moment that you were hoping to avoid.
If there was a benefit to having tooth decay, it’s that you learned your lesson. Since that day, you have been very deliberate about brushing and flossing your teeth every day. (OK, maybe you don’t floss every day, but you do it a lot more than you used to.)
All of that is great, but you still may be at risk of getting another cavity.
We don’t want to alarm you. The staff at Oregon Smile Care Center just wants you to know that you will need to replace your dental filling, and you don’t want to wait too long to do so.
If you live in or near Salem, OR, we would welcome you to visit us for routine check-ups. We will clean and examine your teeth, and we will monitor the condition of your filling as well.
Fillings Are Not Permanent
Fillings are a wonderful part of restorative dentistry, but they are not going to last the rest of your life. You would be better off thinking of your filling like a family vehicle.
It does its job for as long as it can, but you know at some point you will need to replace it. It’s safer and more effective that way.
Some fillings will last longer than others, but we have not yet developed a permanent filling. Whether you have a gold, amalgam, or composite tooth-colored fillings, they will wear down over time.
Let’s consider what fillings are intended to do. After the decay has been removed from your tooth, the filling should accomplish two things.
First, it serves as a seal to protect that part of your teeth from addition damage from bacteria (which are what caused cavities). Second, it restores the function of your tooth so you can bite and chew again.
White fillings, like the ones we offer at our practice, go a step further and restore the appearance of your tooth, too, without a distracting metallic appearance.
After years of use, several things can happen to your filling:
◼︎ They can chip.
◼︎ They can crack.
◼︎ They can erode.
◼︎ They can separate from your teeth.
◼︎ They can fall out.
All of these are problems, although losing a filling completely would be worse than the other possibilities.
Here’s why all of these are problems. Think about the reasons you needed a filling — to protect and to restore your tooth.
Bacteria are microscopic organisms. They only need a small opening to attack your tooth again. A chip, a crack, erosion, or separation are enough to expose parts of your tooth that you cannot clean with a toothbrush or dental floss. The same is true of your filling were to fall out.
If bacteria does get into these spaces, a cavity can start to grow in a place where it’s more likely to lead to a tooth infection. We want to help you prevent that from happening.
It’s common to replace a filling more than once over the course of your lifetime.
As an old filling starts to show its age, you can help your oral health by getting a new filling.
When you visit our office, we will keep an eye on your filling when you visit us for a cleaning and examination, and we can let you know when it may be time to get rid of your old filling.
As we mentioned earlier, we use tooth-colored fillings so your smile can look more natural than it does with metal fillings.
Unfortunately, each replacement affects your tooth as well. With each replacement filling, we may have to remove a little more of your tooth. For some people, this may mean a filling replacement is no longer possible.
In those instances, we would recommend a dental crown. A crown is a more long-term solution for this problem. With a dental crown, you are replacing your entire natural crown, and you are protecting the remaining healthy parts of your tooth.
How Is Your Filling?
When is the last time you looked at your filling or had someone else look at it? Even if everything is fine, it’s better to know the condition of your filling than to find out too late that you’ve got another cavity.